After months of controversy over their stances on free speech and free expression, the two heads of Yale's residential Silliman College have finally given what many students apparently have been coveting:
Nicholas Christakis had been serving as the school's master while his wife, Erika Christakis, was associate master. They handed in their resignations last week, the Yale Daily News reported.
Very happy to have officiated as House/College Master to graduations of pairs of siblings from @Harvard & @Yale https://t.co/vcNDfezYvx— Nicholas A. Christakis (@Nicholas A. Christakis)1464062379.0
The fallout began last October when Erika Christakis reacted to a directive from the school’s Intercultural Affairs Committee, which had just asked students to resist donning Halloween costumes that might come across as offensive.
Early-education expert @ErikaChristakis on why kids need more time for free play https://t.co/t16OR27wbe https://t.co/4GLm0pCzVX— The Wall Street Journal (@The Wall Street Journal)1459453146.0
Christakis sent an opposing email to students reminding them that living in a free society means sometimes putting up with offensive stuff: "Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that."
Well, that didn't fly with students who reportedly attempted to get Christakis and her husband removed from their positions. Things heated up days later when attendees of a conservative event on campus told the Yale Daily News they were spat on by protesting students as they departed.
And you may recall an unsettling video of Nicholas Christakis attempting to talk to a large group of angry students encircling him on a college walkway, demanding apologies and explanations for why their "safe space" pleas haven't been heard.
Suddenly a student got in Christakis' face, yelled at him to "be quiet" and proceeded to give him a profanity-laced lecture of what his position entailed.
"It is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students who live in Silliman," the student told Christakis, later adding, "Do you understand that?"
When Christakis stated his disagreement, the student screamed, "Then why the f*** did you accept the position? Who the f*** hired you? You should step down!" She also told Christakis he shouldn't sleep at night and that he's "disgusting."
(Content warning: Strong language)
The couple said in December they had cancelled their spring semester courses but were staying on in their administrative roles.
Despite support from Yale faculty and the school's president, Erika Christakis told the New York Times in February she was thinking about returning to her work in early childhood education since preschool students “don’t try to get you fired.”
And after the apparent last straw — when some graduating Silliman College seniors refused to accept their diplomas from Nicholas Christakis, the Yale Daily News reported — they tendered their resignations effective this July.
Nicholas will return full-time to his research and teaching at Yale as the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, the school said. Erika Christakis is going back, as she'd considered a few months ago, to early childhood education.
“We have great respect for every member of our community, friend and critic alike,” Nicholas Christakis wrote in Wednesday's email to the Silliman community. “We remain hopeful that students at Yale can express themselves and engage complex ideas within an intellectually plural community."
(H/T: Campus Reform)